Qatar starts raising awareness about new kafala laws while Human Rights organization are dissatisfied.
With the new kafala laws going into effect in Qatar with the start of 2017, officials have started holding workshops to educate the public about their implication.
The Emir signed Law No. 21 of 2015 last October, and focuses on the entry, exit and stay of foreign nationals working in the country. The legislation claimed to make transitions easier for laborers, but haven’t really touched the issues that matter, according to international Human Rights organizations and advocates.
When changes in kafala laws were promised, the world anticipated fundamental reform to what have pushed Swiss courts to investigate FIFA, the football world cup governing body, for not stressing enough on the country to change the laws prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
When FIFa voted for Qatar’s bid to host the football world championships, the country started a nationwide campaign to upgrade their infrastructure, and build stadiums and facilities for the games, all of which are being built by a foreign labor force.
The main reason the kafala law is seen as outrageous to people outside of Qatar, is because contract laborers are bound to their kafil, or sponsor, and can not accept another job in the country, or even leave Qatar, without their sponsor’s approval.
With the new laws however, laborers on fixed-term contracts can now switch jobs once their contract expires without their sponsor’s approval, but they still need the government’s permission.
As for the exit permits, even though they have not been completely revoked, expat laborers will now have the right to petition if their sponsors refuse to approve their departure from the country.
Several Qatari businessmen, government officials and law practitioners believe this to be the perfect balance. The new kafala law protects the worker’s rights, while regulating the flow of workers since constantly recruiting and training new workers can cost businesses considerable amounts of money.